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Medieval lunar eclipses and volcanic eruptions

A team of researchers from six countries plunged into reading hundreds of medieval texts from Europe and the Middle East, looking for references to total lunar eclipses. It must be remembered that when the Moon is hidden from the Sun by the Earth, it remains dimly visible to the naked eye, with a color approaching red. After a major volcanic eruption, it can disappear completely, due to the amount of ash and dust sent into the atmosphere.

Researchers note that medieval monks were reporting on these events. However, out of a total of 51 eclipses found in documents dating from the 11th to the 13th centuries AD that have survived to this day, we find 5 cases in which the moon was “unusually dark”. These five events correspond to years when the ice core and tree trunk circles revealed a major volcanic eruption.

their research It was published April 5 in the journal nature. It allows the eruptions in question to be more accurately dated, because ice cores from Antarctica or Greenland, despite the strongest evidence of an eruption – anomalous deposits of sulfur in a fine “layer” – provide the approximate year at best, but certainly not a month.

photo: chistigrifotos/Pxhere/ CC0

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